There are many variables that influence who we are, the role we play in life and who we will be in the future; all of which are constantly changing over time. There are certain aspects that make up a person which are clearly shown biologically (genetics) such as how tall we are, hair color, and even the diseases that are inherited. So did my height affect why I am so shy at first or is it because I spent most of my childhood struggling in dreary rental houses most of my life? This is where the debate of “nature versus nurture” comes into play, whether or not genetics or the environment makes up a person. Although nature and genetics are important because it also makes us who we are, the environment, socioeconomic status, and family or peers is what truly influenced and made me who I am and the role I play in life. When someone asks me who am I, I never really know how to answer because that can be such a broad question; I could give you a whole list. I am the first-born of two immigrant parents who came to the United States to have better opportunities and in hopes for a better future. Since they could not get their education, I was taught that earning an education and a degree was going to give me success so attending college was always part of the plan. I also serve as a role model and a guide for my younger siblings; being a first-generation student I am the trial and error so my siblings do not have to make the same mistakes I did. Given our current family financial situation, I also work to help my parents pay bills which make me a part of the backbone that keeps this family together. The most important role in my life right now, however, is being a first-generation college student. This role is what really affects every other role in my life and it is the most influential. Both of my parents did not receive the highest education but they made sure to put me in good schools and expected good grades out of me.
This could be a mixture of Sandra Scarr’s heredity-environment correlations: passive genotype-environment and active genotype-environment. It is a passive genotype-environment correlation because even before I began school they started to teach me early such as the alphabet, numbers, and how to write and read. According to Santrock (2018) parents who provide a book-filled environment to their children become excellent readers. I was a skilled reader and writer from an early age which led me to be in advanced classes. However, since they were limited in resources and knowledge, I began to seek out my own environments that best fit my education and passions. I ended up choosing one of the top middle school and high school in my district; both focused on the success of the students and their main goal was for students not to only exceed expectations but be prepared for college. Passive genotype-environment correlations are more common when we are infants but as we grow into adolescence active genotype-environment correlation becomes common because we are able to create experiences beyond the influence of the family (Santrock, 2018). However, due to our low socioeconomic status (SES), it definitely caused restraints in certain aspects of my life. Ever since I could remember, money and stability have always been an issue in our family; all that mattered was paying the bills, having a place to stay and food, anything extra was considered a luxury.
These struggles did not affect my role as a student up until I graduated high-school which is when education was no longer free of cost. Being a first-generation added to that financial stress in my family and me. I had to start working almost full-time just enough to afford to pay for my first year of college because I could not qualify for financial aid that year. Although my financial issues do bring stress in my life, it has never caused me to quit on my education. Santrock (2018) argues that although children from wealthy families do have easy access to the best schools, books, and tutors, they are not guaranteed to success; in the same way that children who are “poor” or “disadvantaged” are not completely certain to fail. Sometimes having the best of the best causes you to lose motivation and you expect to have it easy but for someone like me who has to always work hard for what they want, it has only motivated me to strive for success and a better future. Not only where my parents a big influence in continuing my education, but my SES also lead me to schools that make it easier for students to afford it. I attended an early college high school that was able to provide free community college to graduate with an Associate’s Degree at the end of my four years. My teachers and peers really motivated me to attend this high school because it would benefit me in the future and it did make a huge difference; I saved myself some time and money. Certain people who are already in my profession have also influenced me to start earning connections or networking so once I do graduate it is easier to get a secured job in my preferred field. All of these different people influencing my life play a big part in my role because they are changing the way I think and view different things.
Many different factors impact and influence humans in different ways; if you ask another person how family influences them, they may say their parents were not involved in their life at all so that can give you an explanation as to why they are the way they are. The person I am today has been a mixture of these different variables I stated earlier and feel as they will continue to make who I am. As Santrock (2018) states that all we know is that we are born with certain genetics and it is up to us to adapt and figure out how to use it in the world and see how far we can go.
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